February 19, 2015
Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
- Olga Solomon, Ph.D.
- Occupational Therapy
Sensory Integration and Autism: A Cross-over Analysis between the Clinical Research and Autobiographical Accounts
Problems in sensory integration and processing have been seen in many children with autism, and have been corroborated in clinical research studies (Rogers & Ozonoff, 2005; Blanche, Roley, & Schaff, 2001). Furthermore, sensory integration problems have been described in first-person accounts by highly accomplished individuals with autism (Grandin, 1986, 1995; Williams, 1992; Prince-Hughes, 2004). This study critically analyzes how the clinical research matches against autobiographical accounts of autism, examining comparisons and contrasts between the two. For this cross-over analysis, a review of the literature was conducted that investigated sensory integration and processing issues in autism. In addition, two autobiographical accounts, Emergence: Labeled Autistic and Thinking in Pictures by Temple Grandin, a high-functioning person with autism, were critically reviewed and evaluated for sensory integration and processing issues. By analyzing both the clinical research and autobiographical accounts, a better understanding of the conceptualization of sensory experiences in autism was established. Seeing sensory integration problems from the eyes of an individual with autism provided an empirical view that was lacking from the clinical research. This cross-over analysis study emphasizes the importance for researchers in this field to look at both clinical research and autobiographical accounts to gain a better conceptualization of sensory processing issues that is characteristic of autism.